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Join us for our next installment of the 2020 Business Solution Series with @WilliamsMullen. This free webinar will focus on what you need to know to complete your PPP audit. Sign up now!

#757Recovery Ep. 6 features Shawn Avery, @HRWorkforceCoun dives into how they are moving forward with such high unemployment numbers. He shares how HRWC has reevaluated their services and implemented virtual tools to assist in the employment process

Watch What's Happening in the 757

Learn more about the Alliance and its regional economic development efforts in Hampton Roads, VA by watching some of our recent video features, or by following our social media profiles. 

Meet the new Alliance

It is with great pride and excitement, we present to you the new Alliance. As the leading regional economic development organization, the Hampton Roads Alliance (formerly HREDA) serves as a catalyst for new business attraction, business expansion and long-term business environment improvements in Hampton Roads, Virginia. The Alliance works collaboratively and aggressively to attract, grow and retain higher-wage industries and talent to create a more resilient, inclusive and diverse region of choice.

This new name, new logo, new website and all-encompassing new visual identity which launched in May 2020 is the final piece of an evolution. Our team has been collaborating with our public and private investors and regional partners to transform the Alliance for the last 18 months and we are excited to finally have a chance to introduce and share the new Alliance with the local business community! Check out this short video that captures our transformation, and then take some time to explore this new website as it showcases the strength of our organization and our region!

757 Recovery Planning Video Series

The Hampton Roads Alliance, in collaboration with its regional partners, is leading a regional planning effort to emerge from COVID-19 stronger than ever. The planning process is underway and being driven by nearly 100 business leaders working across 10 committees. In our 757 Recovery Planning video series, you’ll hear from some of the best thinkers in the region on where we are now and what’s next.
We will need you to help us build and finalize this plan. This process and the results will be dynamic! You can see our progress and engage with our work at

Watch the Full Series

View by Episode

Introduction / Update #1 - Doug Smith, Hampton Roads Alliance

Doug Smith, President & CEO of the Hampton Roads Alliance, introduces a new regional initiative known as the 757 Recovery and Resiliency Action Framework. This effort will result in a strategic plan that will ensure Hampton Roads emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever.

This Framework is being developed and executed under the leadership of the Hampton Roads Alliance and a coalition of leading business organizations. The plan is being shaped by 10 committees, each developing action plans specific to their sectors or areas of focus. These committees are chaired by some of the region’s most talented leaders and supported by over 100 volunteer committee members, including a number of young professionals and supported by ODU’s Strome College of Business graduate students.

Over the next ten weeks, we will keep you informed and up to date on our progress, and share a series of video episodes that feature local thought leaders sharing their perspective on how we can best leverage the trends and changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will also be opportunities for those in the business community to participate in the process by taking surveys and providing feedback on the plans produced by these committees. This is our time to show the world that Hampton Roads is a region with a shared vision to create a more livable, equitable and prosperous community for all businesses and residents.

Stay tuned for future updates and check out all of our work at

Episode #1 — Felicia Blow, Hampton University

Felicia Blow currently serves as the Associate Vice President for Development & Campaign Director at Hampton University. This first video in our 757 Recovery Planning Series addresses Diversity and Inclusion from the intersection of COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Felicia shares how in the midst of the pandemic, the nation also began to come to grips with racial inequity in profound ways. In this sense, economic development starts and ends with the people that fuel organizations, not just the organizations themselves.

From Felicia’s enthusiastic perspective, regional recovery efforts will inherently be tied to elevating and supporting marginalized voices in the 757 business community, both during this crisis and long into our development of a "new normal." Felicia makes a compelling case for regionalism during these times, a recurrent theme which you will hear from many of our featured thinkers in future episodes.

To learn more visit

Episode #2 — Robert M. McNab, Old Dominion University

In our second episode, Robert (Bob) M. McNab, provides a holistic perspective on how COVID-19 is affecting the 757 and how it allows for increased collaboration and cohesion. Bob currently serves as Director of the Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy in the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University.

For Bob, it’s not only a matter of recognizing how dire the situation might be, but also how much of an opportunity it provides for local leaders and the region to come together. He also explains that Wave 1 hasn’t concluded and that future waves and the promise of a future vaccination will rest on how our leaders usher in our collective participation.

See the full 757 Recovery Planning efforts underway at

Episode #3 — Aleea Slappy Wilson, The City of Norfolk

Aleea Slappy Wilson is the City of Norfolk’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and LGBTQ Liaison to the City Manager. She is currently the Business Development Manager for the City of Norfolk, driving the city's efforts to help businesses start and grow in the city. In this third episode in our series, Aleea discusses the shortcomings that our local communities have had when it comes to including and serving everyone. In her opinion, COVID-19 revealed areas where the city could make the system work better for all people and businesses, especially marginalized communities. These communities include our senior citizens, those in isolation or alone, our homeless populations, our residents in public housing, and much more.

Aleea also shares that marginalized communities have often, if not always, been kept out of meaningful conversations and community development. While she recognizes these areas where local governments and businesses have room to improve, she looks forward to the future and the change that has been instigated by the realization many have recently had regarding diversity and inclusion in our society.

Check out all the progress our committees have made at

Episode #4 — Jordan Asher, Sentara Healthcare

Episode four of our 757 Planning Recovery series features Dr. Jordan Asher, Senior Vice President, and Chief Physician Executive at Sentara Healthcare. Dr. Asher shares a humble and emotional testimonial as someone that has been on the front lines of this pandemic from the beginning. He challenges everyone to never let a crisis, such as this, go unleveraged.

For Dr. Asher, this moment isn't just about being nimble and flexible in a time of crisis, but also about recognizing the humanity in one another. Additionally, he has some insightful perspectives about what this will mean for both the regional economy and leadership. The local healthcare community has learned a lot about the importance of the domestic supply chain for critical items like PPE, which Dr. Asher sees as an opportunity for Hampton Roads in this arena.

Check out all the progress our committees have made at

Episode #5 — Dr. Erika Marsillac, Ph.D., Old Dominion University

Dr. Erika Marsillac, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Strome College of Business at Old Dominion University. In this episode, Dr. Marsillac discusses how our patterns of consumption have changed due to COVID-19. She believes that companies will be more detailed at how they examine their supply chain networks and hopes that we will be able to look into other vital concerns that are more long-term, such as climate change.

Dr. Marsillac believes Hampton Roads has tremendous potential to leverage supply chain opportunities highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. In a country that now understands the value of supply chains, our port-based economy will position us well for the future. She also acknowledges that the 757’s economy isn’t as diversified as it should be, due to the stabilization that government agencies and the military provide us, and offers some solutions like the “mega-regions".

The 757 Recovery Plan is taking shape. Up next is your input and feedback on draft 1 of the plan.Check out all the progress our committees have made at

Episode #6 — Shawn Avery, Hampton Roads Workforce Council

In our sixth episode, Shawn Avery, President, and CEO of the Hampton Roads Workforce Council (HRWC), dives into how his company is moving forward with such high unemployment numbers. Shawn shares that HRWC has reevaluated how they are providing their services to their community and have implemented means such as Zoom interviews and webinars to assist people in the employment process.

One key feature of workforce development that has surfaced because of COVID-19 is the need for “re-training” opportunities. This area of training and development is critical in transitioning displaced workers into new, growing fields. Despite an overwhelmingly negative impact the crisis has had on our local businesses and local workforce, Shawn is optimistic and gives an inside look as to how HRWC is now able to provide its services. He believes this crisis has given them more “tools in their toolbox.”

Our 10 committees are hard at work, but we need your help. Provide your input and feedback on draft 1 of the plan, available at

Episode #7 — Jeff Johnson, Virginia Tech Research Center Park

Jeff Johnson is a Director at the Virginia Tech Research Center Park, where he leads development and innovation efforts. In episode seven, Jeff shares a thoughtful perspective that highlights the importance of flexible, humble, and authentic leadership during recovery and beyond. Jeff also discusses the ways in which we now have a glimpse through Zoom into the lives of our colleagues and greater opportunity to access more of our humanity in our interactions.

Jeff joins the chorus in calling for regional collaboration as the 757 shapes its collective, unified goals. He believes that while we might not have all the answers at the moment, we are united by the ambiguity.

We need your input on the first draft of our regional recovery plan! Tell us what you think at

Episode #8 — John Martin, SIR Institute for Tomorrow

In episode eight, John Martin, President/CEO of SIR Institute for Tomorrow frames the 757's current recovery through the lens of five wider sociological trends across the business community. Throughout his discussion, he repeatedly ties his points back to Hampton Roads and the importance of focusing on the region's appeal to people as much as its appeal to business, especially in a society that has recently discovered that many employees can work from anywhere via remote work.

He also concludes with the optimistic suggestion that the 757 is primed for this type of reorientation. In fact, the process has really already begun.

Check out all the progress our committees have made at

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Get the guidance you need on our 757 COVID-19 Business Recovery Forum. Read advice from industry experts and ask questions at For business resources related to Coronavirus, please visit the Hampton Roads Chamber’s COVID-19 Business Resource Guide.